Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Steubenville Rape Case - Yes, I'm Blogging About It

I generally prefer not to blog about things in the media, however I feel as if it's my responsibility as a woman and a mother, to speak up.

If you have not heard about this horrifying case, a quick Google search will give you endless results to brush up on it, if you wish.

I'd like to start this with stating my disgust with CNN reporters for how they expressed sympathy for the 2 rapists after they had been sentenced a couple of days ago. I know I'm not alone with this feeling of disgust. I've seen many other people expressing a degree of sympathy for the rapists. People have talked about how their lives are ruined, how they were promising football stars, how hard it must be for them etc. How about the victim? The girl who while incapacitated was raped, urinated on, dragged around and photographed. That girl will have to deal with this in one way or another, for the rest of her life. With the support of her friends and family, she will get stronger, she will get better, she will move on and have a good life. But nothing will make that event go away. The emotional and mental toll that this type of thing has on a person is tremendous. 

There is NO EXCUSE for the actions of those two rapists that night. There is NO EXCUSE for the teens who took photographs and videos. There is NO EXCUSE for all of the witnesses who watched and did nothing. There is NO EXCUSE for the authorities who attempted to sweep the case under the rug.

Kudos to Anonymous for being an advocate for the victim and getting this story out there. And also to the blogger who captured screenshots of the twitter conversations about the event.

In regards to the sentencing, I have read many things that have said something along the lines of, What difference would a harsher sentence/more time really make? A harsher sentence would drive home the fact that what they did is absolutely inexcusable. Not only for Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, but for everyone. Furthermore, it would give a more profound sense of justice to the victim. That justice is just another piece in the healing process. People stress the fact that they will have to register as sex offenders. Of course they will! They ARE sex offenders! They earned that title all on their own.

Lets not forget, not only did Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond digitally rape, urinate on and photograph this girl, they also joked and bragged about it on twitter, as well as shared the images of the girl after the fact. Many other witnesses discussed the event as well, all negative toward the victim. Even other teen girls. They called it rape, they KNEW it was wrong.

There is an enormous problem here. This problem goes beyond just these teens lacking basic compassion and morals. This is an issue with the football culture there in Steubenville, where the "stars" are regarded as above the law. This is an issue with lack of parental involvement where it matters. This is an issue with society. There is so much that urgently needs to be addressed and the Steubenville Rape Case has brought it to light. Things MUST change.

We're in 2013 and it astounds me that victim blaming in rape cases is still so prevalent. There is absolutely no excuse for rape. No. Excuse.

The sentencing in this case was a slap on the wrist. Just look at it all together. Go read the tweets. Go watch the video.

EDIT: Friday, March 22, 2013
I watched the Steubenville special on ABC's 20/20 tonight. I am so deeply disappointed in the clear sympathy garnering for the rapists and the little compassion expressed for the victim. Comparing Ma'lik and his past to "The Blind Side"? Come on now ABC, that was in poor taste and if I were Michael Oher, I'd be furious.

The thing I am much, MUCH more disappointed about is what I saw while following the #ABC2020 hashtag discussion on twitter. I think sickened by, is probably more accurate actually. Women were calling the victim a "Ho" and other names along those lines. Both men and women were blaming the victim.

We need to teach our children better. We NEED to. This needs to be a discussion with your teens. We need to raise our younger children knowing better than this teen generation does right now. There is another similar case going on in CT right now.

The victim blaming mentality too many people have toward this type of situation is just unacceptable. The perpetrators need to be held fully responsible for their actions. No excuses.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dear Moms

Dear Moms who think I am an over achiever. Moms who think I am crazy. Moms who think I do things the way I do, to try to be better than you or make you feel less than.

I don't cook most things from scratch to be better than you. I don't keep my home the way I do, just to make you feel bad about yours. I don't homeschool and think you're bad if you don't. I don't do anything at all to be better than you or to "out mother" you. Nothing I do for my family is about you at all.

I'm a mother, just like you. I'm a mother to 6 children and we have 2 dogs. I'm a mother who homeschools. I'm a mother who is just doing her best, just like you. I'm the mother of a child with a long list of severe food allergies.

The truth is, I cook the way I do, because I have no choice. Of course I'm happy that my kids are eating healthy to go along with that, but I would love if I could heat them some frozen nuggets now and then or order a pizza on a night where I just really don't want to cook. But, I can't do those things without risking my son's life. I don't share new things I make just to bother you, I share them for those interested.

I keep my home organized and clean because I have trouble getting through my day successfully otherwise. It makes my day run more smoothly with the kids and homeschooling and I feel less stressed out. Keeping the floors clean sure does help when the baby has dropped his cheese stick on the floor for the 20th time and I don't have to throw it away because of dirt or dog fur. The five second rule totally applies here. Some of my kids and myself also have environmental allergies, so keeping everything dusted and vacuumed makes us all less uncomfortable. Unless my feet are getting stuck to your floor or my kids come home filthy from just sitting on your couch, I don't notice how clean your home is or isn't, so quit thinking I am going to judge you.

I homeschool because it's right for us. Between the moving and food allergies, right now, it works for my family. It's not for everyone and I don't ever think otherwise.

Cloth diapers.... breastfeeding... those are also things I choose for my family. I don't care if you choose them for yours or not. If I share a link now and then, take it or leave it. I'm only sharing for those interested, not to offend those who aren't.

I share things I do, sometimes because I'm excited that I came up with another allergy free recipe and other times because I do have friends who are genuinely interested. Never do I share pictures, recipes, details about my day or anything else like that, to offend/upset/annoy/bother/judge you.

And one last thing. Keeping a clean home does not mean I am neglecting to spend quality time with my children. My entire life is devoted to my children. A clean home is not a sign that I must be pushing them aside to achieve it.

At the end of the day, I am no different than you. I'm a mom, just like you. I'm tired, just like you. I'm doing my best, just like you. I love my children, just like you. We all do things differently and that's ok.